where the writers are
I've been sleeping and taking it in
austin power plant.jpg

I've been in Austin now for just over two months. Soon, it will be time to go. Already Thanksgiving has come and gone and I've said so very little. Whereas this time, just a year ago I would have so much to say about the holidays, I am, mute. It's not that I'm cynical. It's more like I'm waiting. I'm listening. In plain sight I disappear and through the many others I meet, I see sides of myself, pieces and reflections of myself as I walk, bicycle and mostly drive along these foreign roads.

In Austin there are the poets, who astound me with both their eloquence and volume of output. Instead of writing anything new or hopping on a stage night after night I can rest assured that there are others who are stringing together the words that will light the way for those willing to listen. They spin webs with those strings of words; the depressed, the homeless, the outcast prophets, and the web becomes community as well as a frequency that serves as backdrop to the café people who try to ignore them while looking for jobs or love on the internet. Needless to say, this is the lot of the prophets. And since I no longer feel very prophetic, I flit in and out, knowing that someday, the fever might once again, overtake me and lead me to spinning.

It's now, though, that I'm reading, mostly. The home where I'm staying has a great translation of the Book of In-Between, Book of Liberation, more well known as the Tibetan Book of the Dead. I read the book at night and if I read it well I wake up the next day with a sincere energy that is somewhat intoxicating. I'm fixated, since I read slowly, over and over again, certain parts about the similarity of dreaming to dying. Now, in a society where things seem so upturned, it's maybe no wonder why I'd focus on dreams. Maybe, I'm just an escapist, a Petra Pan at heart. Maybe now that the very act of writing seems to weigh heavily under penalty of law for anything from treason (read terrorism) to trademark infringement, I no longer find writing to be a relaxed and winding road. It's possible I'm just paranoid, but I don't know. The stage is set for deep transitions in culture and wealth. The stage is set for things to get much better, if they don't first, get much, much worse.

In the last few weeks I've realized that if my words were at an end, it would be OK, because there would be someone else to pick them back up again. Right now there are countless agitators against the status quo. There are others like me. Some are more educated, some much less. Some are the same and others different in age, race, sex and BMI. It just doesn't matter who they are or what they look like, they exist. So, although I realize I can't stay in Austin anymore than my return ticket allows, I realize that the voices and the lights are many. So, for the first time in a long time, I feel liberated enough to follow my own little daydreams and to remain utterly mute. Tomorrow, I will spend the day, mostly listening. How nice.

 Next from Austin: lots more and much more daily.

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...staying mute is not being voiceless. Flitting in and out is part of discovering roads. There is bound to be fear. That fear is also a channel for discovery. And I hope I don't sound like a prophet, although I do hope these words are prophetic and your writing becomes a relaxing experience once again. Sometimes, standing at the edge of the cliff also produces sounds that mean a lot...

PS: I just love this picture of yours - it has depth, a leashed-in quality and yet an openness. It reminds me of German expressionist cinema.


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Standing at the edge

Farzana, I have missed you.

Thank you, many times over.

I will try to get a more lasting picture of the power plant. If I succeed I will send a copy of it to you.


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Listen here, lady

Don't shut up.